Smokin’ Barrel BBQ launches second location in New Palestine

by | People, Q&A

Representing the newest generation of Indy barbecue pitmasters, Evansville native Mike McFarland is earning acclaim for his barbecuing and smoked meat skills. After graduating from Pennsylvania Culinary School, he and his wife, CJ, opened their first Smokin’ Barrel BBQ at the East Indianapolis Sertoma Club in 2019. 

Recently, they opened their second location in New Palestine in conjunction with Dry Bones Mud House coffee shop. CJ focuses on administration and growing the business, while Mike oversees his four offset smokers, each one named as you would an addition to the family. 

What made you want to become a chef?
Cooking brought my family together. My aunts, specifically Aunt Diane, was always cooking and I wanted to be where she was. 

What is your favorite type of food and why?
I love all food. I love all cuisines. Thai food and Chinese food have so many flavors and spices that we in America don’t typically use. I love authentic pizza from small businesses. People put who they are on pizza. 

Where do you get your inspiration? 
My family, friends and the people I have encountered in life have all inspired me in various ways. Even if you have a different background, food brings you together! I love history and reading old, historic cookbooks to see how they did things. 

What is your favorite thing to make for yourself and family? 
Chicken Alfredo and steaks. Pasta and steak is something my family always asks for. 

If you could eat anywhere in the world, where would that be and what would you eat?  
Thailand and Beijing…rice and ramen. Australia, Brazil…all the meats! 

If you could choose a favorite place in Indiana to visit, where would that be and what would you eat? 
I love Indianapolis [food]. My favorite Chinese place is Golden Wok on South East Street and Don Miguel’s on South Keystone Avenue. 

What items are always in your fridge?
Butter, meat, salsa.

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